The Real Deal New York

After rejected air rights sale, Ascend Group changes plans for LES site

Developer will now just build one tower
By Kathryn Brenzel | February 26, 2019 02:30PM

A rendering of 232 East Broadway (Credit: S4 Architecture)

Instead of two new towers in the Lower East Side, Ascend Group and its partners now plan to build one and convert an adjacent landmarked nursing home into a condominium building.

The development team seeks to construct a 28-story, 55-unit condo building at 232 East Broadway, and to renovate the former Bialystoker nursing home at 228 Broadway by creating 18 condo units, sources said. The project is being developed by Ascend, Round Square Development’s Rob Kaliner and Optimum Asset Management Group.

Kaliner said on Tuesday that Ascend had rebranded as Round Square. But his partner Wayne Heicklen — the second half of Ascend —  said the company, which is the holding company that appears on deed and mortgage documents for the property, remains intact.

The development team has not yet filed plans for the project with the city Department of Buildings.

Ascend originally sought to purchase 155,000 square feet of air rights from the neighboring Seward Park Cooperative, but the complex’s board ultimately rejected the $54 million deal in June. Some residents had objected to the size of the new towers. At the time, it was reported that the developer would instead move forward with two smaller buildings of 17 and 20 stories.

Under these new scaled-down plans, the new building and the renovated nursing home will together span 128,000 square feet, and will share amenities, like a swimming pool and movie screening room. Space 4 Architecture is the design architect, and SLCE Architects is the architect of record for the project.

The development team also plans to build a private park for residents at the former Dora Cohen Memorial Park site, where the developer had initially planned to build another tower.

Kaliner said he’s working with the Landmarks Planning Commission to upgrade the nursing home and give it more of an “aesthetically pleasing feel.”

“We will be gut renovating the existing structure, designing this building with very different finishes based on the historical nature of the building,” he said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Ascend Group had rebranded to Round Square Development, based on information provided by Robert Kaliner.